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Working on a new Citizen Science project Hedgerow Heroes for Surrey Wildlife Trust, I am exploring the connections between people and hedgerows and how we can use past relationships with this important semi-natural habitat to shape future ideas about sense of place and environmental stewardship.
One measure of our connectedness to nature is how much it is reflected in language.Robert Macfarlane ’s works are a wonderful exploration of this connection, particularly Landmarks which has a series of glossaries containing words associated with landscape features. And guess what, there is a section on “Edges, Hedges and Boundaries”
|Boodge||to stuff bushes into a hedge to confine livestock (Herefordshire)|
|Buckhead||to cut the top off a hedge to within two or three feet of the ground (Suffolk)|
|Bullfinch||hedge that is allowed to grow high without laying (Northampton shire)|
|Carvet||thick hedgerow (Kent)|
|Cop||bank on which a hedgerow grows (Cumbria)|
|Glat||gap in a hedge (Hertfordshire)|
|Grounders||bottom stones in a Hedge (Cornwall)|
|Hedgers, soldiers, toppers||top stones in a hedge or wall (Cornwall)|
|Kes, kess||buildup of soil and stone along the base of a very old hedge (Cumbria)|
|May-mess||profusion of hedge blossom in full spring (Poetic- GMHopkins)|
|Prickle-nickle||dry hedge of thorns set to protect a newly planted hedge (Northamptonshire)|
|Round-about||Boundary hedge of a coppice (Northampton shire)|
|Shard||gap in a hedge SW (England)|
|Smeuse||gap in the base of a hedge made by the regular passage of a small animal (Sasses-My Favorite!)|
|Smout||hole in the hedge used by a hare (N Eng. & Somerset)|
|Squiggle||to wriggle through a hedge (Essex)|
These are all English terms but they probably have equivalents in other languages. Of course there are the terms associated with hedge-laying like pleachers and bindings too.
I’d be really interested in hearing words, and other sources of words, which document the human connection with hedges, hedgerows and hedge landscapes.
I started this blog back in 2013 to explore my interest in connectivity and how connections, being connected and conversely the state of isolation, is expressed throughout the living world. The hedgerow that joins to woods; a river flowing through the landscape; a story that brings together two communities. I think a lot- too much some might say, and blogging helps me to organise thoughts and also practice writing, which I have loved since I was a youngster but have done less of in my adult life. I became an ecologist in my 30s so came to a scientific way of thinking after years of intuitive living, and I feel keenly a loss of a creative side of my being. What better way to explore these ideas than connecting with others, and in the process reconnecting my left and right brain.
My blogging has been at best sporadic and at worst non-existent; however, with the encouragement of the good people at WordPess with their Blogging101 course I’m going to invest in my blog in 2016! I am already nearly a week behind due to a house move, but rather than quite we will just accept and move on!
To start off, bearing in mind this late start, I thought I would just list the things that got in the way of blogging regularily
- Making time to blog
- Writing style- I tend to write longer mini-essays!
- Perfectionist streak- I don’t like posting things that aren’t high quality.
And here’s some of what I hope to bring you in the near future:
- New ideas about ecological connectivity through peer reviewed journals
- Insight into the application of science though my job as Living Landscape Manager at Surrey Wildlife Trust, and in particular how research is translated into practical delivery methods. One of my core interests is to what degree ecological connectivity is woven into the life stories of our society, and how we can use these to build a more resilient and connected community.
- Local and national case studies about how communities are connecting with nature and natural resources in a more sustainable way.
- Stories, Pictures and practically anything else I can think of relating to this idea of connectivity.
I hope you’ll join me and interact with your own experiences and ideas.
Let’s stay connected.